Let me tell you a little bit about myself, my background, and my passion for America. My story consists of three components: growing up, working life, and serving others.
I grew up in Bellflower, California in a Loving Christian family, where the values of being responsible for your actions mattered, as my family believed most of us were taught in homes and schools at that time. From my father I learned the value of work. My father didn’t believe in giving any of us kids an allowance for the work we did around the house. He looked at that work as a part of learning to be a responsible family member. If we wanted spending money, we had to earn it, and we did. During those years I usually had an after-school job, reinforcing my belief that a good work ethic is essential to success. We have a daughter, grandchildren, and a great grandson and are concerned about their futures… what kind of country are we going to leave behind for them, and for that matter, all the children of this great country? This question is a driving force in my life.
My jobs ranged from passing out flyers, to mopping floors, dishwasher, shining shoes, pumping gas, bottling and selling milk. My work ethic was always strong. I never viewed these jobs as drudgery; I viewed them as normal, that it was important to work, earn and to pay my own way. I never believed that my parents, employer or government owed me anything. I did expect that my family would ensure that I had a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear. Government assistance was never discussed within my family.
My adult working life first started in the steel industry and then in the food industry. I started out on the ground floor and rose to become an executive with several food companies in California. I had clients such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Kroger Markets, Safeway. Trader Joe’s, Albertsons and others. I was responsible for large numbers of people, budgets, product development, logistics, marketing and revenue goals. Again, accountability and responsibility was just a normal way of life to me.
My wife Jean and I started a property management company and at one point we owned more than 30 properties that included apartments, houses, raw land and commercial buildings in California, Iowa, Idaho and Arizona. We also took an interest in antiques and opened an antique store in Iowa which was a successful business and a property as well.
During our lives my wife and I felt as Christians we were called to help others, to reach out in order to make life better for those less fortunate. In 1976 I opened a Halfway House in Bellfower, California, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We took in men of all ages, helping them to conquer addictions to drugs, alcohol etc., we helped those who suffered traumatic discouragement and homelessness. We helped them to get sober, find jobs, reunite with their families and find their way back into society. At the same time we saw the need to reach out to young people in the skid row area of Hollywood, California. Our focus was on runaway and homeless teenagers. We helped both the teenagers who came to us, and those in other areas who heard of us where our reward was those teenagers who decided in time to return home. And, we also operated a Christian coffee house which was a “drop-in” facility to help and counseled anyone who came to us, also open 12-14 hours each day, 6 days a week. This was all done while we held full time jobs, generating the income we needed in order to support this work we valued.
In time we began an outreach program further south, near Rosarita Beach, Baja California, with a destitute family consisting of a grandmother, two daughters, and five children. Over time this small group grew to be a village of over 200 people where we went every other weekend bringing flour, beans, rice and other staples. We also brought them clothing, blankets and other basic items along with, of course Bibles. This program continued until the late 1980s when it was determined that I needed surgery for my back where we found a Nazarene Missionary whom we had contacted through a pastor we knew in Bellflower, Ca., he eagerly took over this program.
It’s important to understand that: a) We started and ran these programs using our own money. The government had no involvement and b) To us this was one of the finest ways of being of service to others, and c) we now more than likely wouldn’t be able to do any of this with all the new laws and licenses needed.
Politically I began my “career” in 1956 at the age of nine, passing out small pocket-sized Presidents books in support of President Eisenhower. I have been active in politics to one degree or another ever since. In 2004 I was given the opportunity to go “on air” in radio in California and have been on the air ever since to include Idaho, Florida and now in Arizona. The format of my shows was at first Bible Studies and then moved into politics as the country continued down a path that I believe needed to be addressed called: “Crossroads with Van.” I interviewed office holders, candidates, discussing the issues of the day and provided analysis and commentary. Even though I’m officially retired now I still do some talk radio on the Internet. We also sponsored and hosted the Saluting Patriots Concert at the Wigwam Resort in August of 2011 to raise monies for several veterans groups as well as putting together a Second Amendment Rally at the Capitol in March of 2013 and Emceeing events for various other active groups over the recent years. I’m also a past President of The Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriot Group and also active in the movement to Stop Common Core.
When we reached a point to settle down in one place we sold all of our holdings except for the home we now own in Sun City West, AZ. My wife and I have been Precinct Committeeman, State Committeemen and Delegate elect from 2009 to 2013, and sponsored candidate forums during the last three election cycles. I follow what’s going on in our Community, State and Country very closely. I measure our Constitution against the laws Congress keeps passing that have no authority behind them, which is extremely disappointing. I have spoken about it, written about it and talked about it on the air. I really wasn’t convinced that I wanted to run for a political office ever again after the 12 & 14 experience, even though I had been approached and encouraged to do so several times. When I was again approached several times and asked to run , and in the end Jean and I decided that I would run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 2016 or as my wife put it to me, “You have a duty”. So we’ll try and see if enough voters want to remove Senator McCain due to his Campaign Rhetoric vs. his Senate Voting Record, like Legal Status, Secure Border, along with Senator Flake and the Gang of Eight in the Senate.
During the 2012 and 2014 elections I spoke and met with thousands of people across our great state receiving high marks and acceptance. Some polls since the 2012 election have shown that I now have 40% or more of the votes if the voters cast their ballots today—that is if you believe what they call reverse polling. It’s a small consolation but my message was clear: We are a Constitutional Representative Republic based on Judeo-Christian principles, yet are being dictated to by a federal government that seemingly ignores the Constitution at every turn.
I lost in the primary or as I call it a battle, but not my confidence in the citizens of Arizona as we continue to believe that if those in DC continue to serve the special interest groups the voters will see that the only way to fix the problems in America is by replacing those in DC.
After many meetings with several people and a long period of time studying the voting record of the current occupant of the U.S. Senate seat from Arizona, it was clear to me and to others that we are not being served well by Senator McCain. After several meetings, prayer and hearing from many of you we decided to run in 2016. Others are also beginning to challenge incumbents who have not and are not serving their constituents in their respective states. If this wave of conservatism continues we’ll see a sea wave of change in DC.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this statement and hope you’ll join us in our goal once again to unseat the incumbent of over 30 yrs. and begin to fill in the hole they’ve dug for all of US.
God Bless You All;
Clair Van Steenwyk